"Rowing is the only sport you can win sitting on your rear end going backwards.”
“Rowers do more before 8:00 am than most people do all day.”
“Rowing is the only sport that originated as a form of capital punishment.”
As I laugh at and reflect on these rather humorous sayings commonly found on t-shirts, I find myself mentally preparing for our race this weekend. We are racing at the Head of the Genesee in New York on Sunday and it should be quite an exciting day for the team. We have spent the better part of five weeks getting into shape, and I for one feel much stronger for it. Our 6 a.m. lifting and erg-ing practices, coupled with long Saturday morning run/rows, prove the second phrase at the top to have merit. Rowers do get a whole lot done before 8 a.m.
Getting myself mentally prepared for a race like this is easier than a spring race, mainly because it is similar to running a five-mile race as opposed to the 400-m dash. The rates are lower but the power has to stay on for the entire length of the course. Head races are mental games. In a head-style race, boats are gathered up at the top of the course (approximately five kilometers or three miles up river from the launch docks) and sent across the start line one at a time at even intervals. For example, 10 to 15 seconds after we are sent across the line another boat crosses the line and begins to chase us. And we are chasing the boat ahead of us. The goal is to beat the clock, have the fastest time out of all the boats in your event. Once the results are determined, boats have to race again in the afternoon, only this time it is a 1500m sprint. The crew with the best combined times win, so it is possible for a team who sprints really well to place higher than their original time would have allowed them to. Like I said, it’s a mental game.
This weekend will be our first gauge of how well we are preparing ourselves for winter training and how hard we are pushing ourselves this fall. The team is pushing pretty hard, myself included, and hopefully all that hard work will translate into the boat. I’m pretty excited to see how far we’ve come and to get some real speed on the water. So, is anyone interested in some capital punishment ... I mean rowing?